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Sunburn

Gay Essential Review: Sunburn (Golpe de Sol) at Melbourne Queer Film Festival

Sunburn (Golpe de Sol) is a conceptual Portuguese drama exploring the complex connections between four long-time friends. Writer-director Vicente Alves do Ó fills each scene with bold experimental filmmaking touches that draw out the attitudes that gurgle under the surface.

Sorry Angel

Essential Opinion: Sorry Angel (Plaire, Aimer et Courir Vite)

Eclectic French filmmaker Christophe Honoré creates a drama that feels powerfully autobiographical as it explores events from 25 years ago. That said, Sorry Angel feels bracingly present-day in its blurring of traditional descriptions of sexuality.

Wretched Things

Wretched Things, The Gay Essential Interview

The feature film Wretched Things is made up of three separate shorts that are only connected thematically. “We men are wretched things,” writes Homer in The Iliad, and writer-director Gage Oxley throws each of his three leading men into an odyssey during which they become a kind of sex worker. Shot in Leeds, the films are powerful and pointed, each with its own distinct kick. Oxley and his cast sat down with Gay Essential to talk about the project.

ParTy Boi: Black Diamonds in Ice Castles

Essential Opinion – ParTy Boi: Black Diamonds in Ice Castles

Filmmaker Michael Rice spent a year interviewing a range of people within a very specific community for this documentary, and he packs rather a lot into the brief running time. ParTy Boi: Black Diamonds in Ice Castles is an exploration of the impact of crystal meth addiction on the gay black subculture in America.

The Harvesters

Gay Essential Review: The Harvesters (Die Stropers) at Thessaloniki International Film Festival

With his feature writing-directing debut, Greek-South African filmmaker Etienne Kallos takes a subtle but sharply pointed look into Afrikaans culture as it grapples with larger social shifts. Within this, The Harvesters (Die Stropers) explores the thorny issue of identity and sexuality in a provocative and darkly moving way.

Mapplethorpe

Gay Essential Review: Mapplethorpe at Thessaloniki International Film Festival

For her first narrative feature, award-winning documentary filmmaker Ondi Timoner spent more than a decade developing this biopic about photographic artist Robert Mapplethorpe. Her passion in the project shows in its striking attention to detail and her willingness to dig deeply into the more complex corners of this iconic man’s life.

Sauvage

Gay Essential Review: Sauvage at Thessaloniki International Film Festival

First-time French filmmaker Camille Vital-Naquet takes an offhanded, almost documentary style approach to the story of a young prostitute who is looking for love in Sauvage. Among the film’s awards, lead actor Félix Maritaud won the Louis Roederer Foundation Rising Star Award at Cannes.

Kill the Monsters

Gay Essential Review: Kill the Monsters at Raindance Film Festival

This offbeat independent film is subtitled “An American Allegory”, and indeed it’s seriously on-the-nose. With Kill the Monsters, writer-director Ryan Lonergan makes every scene mean something. The film is skilfully shot in black and white, and inventively edited and performed.

José

Essential Opinion: José

Winner of the Queer Lion at the Venice Film Festival, the Guatemalan drama José is an astute look at male sexuality in a culture that’s infused with machismo. This is an earthy, honest story using observational filmmaking to touch on big themes without ever being preachy. Chinese-born American filmmaker Li Cheng cleverly lets the plot unfold in such a subtle way that the movie has a documentary feel to it.

I Hate New York

Gay Essential Review: I Hate New York at Raindance Film Festival

First, it should be noted that the title of this documentary is ironic, as it explores the lives of four LGBTQ artists who have chosen to make New York their home. I Hate New York is directed by Spanish filmmaker Gustavo Sanchez, who shot his subjects over 10 years.

Dykes, Camera, Action!

Gay Essential Review: Dykes, Camera, Action! at Raindance Film Festival

Fast-paced and fluidly edited, this feature documentary explores both the history of lesbian characters in the movies as well as the rise of queer female filmmakers. Dykes, Camera, Action! is a thoroughly entertaining film covering quite a lot of material in its brisk running time.

Ruminations

Gay Essential Review: Ruminations at Raindance Film Festival

Basically an accidental documentary, Ruminations came about when director Robert James went in search of stories about gay hippies in 1960s San Francisco and stumbled upon Rumi Missabu, a notorious raconteur who calls himself a “male actress”. As one of the original Cockettes, he is an oracle of anecdotes.

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